The undersigned having been appointed a committee to prepare an address to you, on the subject of Foreign naturalization in the United States, have endeavored to perform that duty with a deep and solemn conviction of the importance and responsibility of the trust which has been confided to their hands.
In discussing this momentous topic, while we have determined to speak boldly, freely, and unequivocally on a subject with which we believe the destinies of our beloved country to be bound up, and on the proper management of which we consider the duration of our blood-bought institutions in a great degree to depend, we have also endeavored in its discussion to adopt the utmost calmness, and mildness consistent with truth, and to divest our minds of every feeling of prejudice, or passion.
We feel the delicacy of our position, that while we are deputed to raise the voice of warning to the native born Patriots of our country, we have also to seek to allay the prejudices or apprehensions of a large portion of our population, who possessing equal rights with ourselves may have acquired impressions hostile to our views, or may have adopted the opinion that the efforts now making throughout the United States to obtain a repeal of the naturalization laws, comprehend also a disposition to abridge, abrogate or diminish those rights in the slightest degree.
In the first place then we distinctly state “once for all” what should be well understood by every member of our republic, that there exists no tribunal or power in the United States, which could in any shape, manner, or form, interfere in the slightest degree with the rights of naturalized citizens, as guaranteed to them by the laws and constitution.
If both houses of Congress and every Legislature in the United States aided by the whole Judiciary, were to pass any retrospective or Ex post facto law, infringing in the slightest degree the political rights guaranteed to naturalized citizens in the United States, that law whatever it might be would be null and void in its very essence, and it would be the prerogative of naturalized citizens to resist it to the death, in which resistance they would be sustained by the acquiescence of every honest man, and the approving voice of the whole civilized world.
We state this fact plainly and distinctly in the outset, and we will hereafter consider as affectation or base, malicious and slanderous misrepresentation, any attempt to insinuate that the efforts now making to procure a repeal of the naturalization laws, are intended or calculated to interfere with or diminish in the slightest degree the political rights, immunities or privileges of naturalized American citizens.
We consider them, politically as “bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh,” and we are ready as such to give them the right hand of fellowship. We are ready also to award the meed of gratitude to the memories of those noble and gallant spirits, who during the incipiency of our republic, “hurried from other lands, to moisten with their blood, the tree of American Liberty,” and to all other naturalized citizens who have contributed to establish the unexampled greatness and prosperity of our beloved country, up to the present period. But we can go no farther:—The calm and unruffled streamlet which formerly meandered almost imperceptibly through the field of the husbandman, irrigating and fertilizing the soil, and producing a luxurious and beneficent harvest, when converted by elemental accumulations into the raging torrent, may sweep away and destroy every vestige of his labors.
Such it may be said is the present condition of our beloved country,—so long as foreigners entered in moderate numbers into the states and territories of the United States, and became imperceptibly merged and incorporated into the great body of the American people, and were gradually imbued, and indoctrinated into the principles of virtue and patriotism, which formerly animated the whole American community, so long their advent was an advantage and a benefit to our country, but when we see hordes and hecatombs of beings in human form, but destitute of any intellectual aspirations,—the outcast and offal of society—the pauper, the vagrant, and the convict, transported in myriads to our shores, reeking with the accumulated crimes of the whole civilized and savage world, and inducted by our laws, to equal rights, immunities, and privileges with the noble native inhabitants of the United States, we can no longer contemplate it with supine indifference. We feel constrained to warn our countrymen, that unless some steps be speedily taken to protect our institutions from these accumulated inroads upon our national character, for the indiscriminate immigration, and naturalization of foreigners, in vain have our predecessors whether native or naturalized, toiled and suffered, and fought and bled and died, to achieve our liberties, and establish our hallowed institutions.
We consider the efforts which are now making in the United States, to procure a repeal of the naturalization laws, as having a direct tendency to secure the permanent welfare, happiness and liberty, not only of our own descendants, but also of those of naturalized citizens and even of aliens and foreigners; and although we occasionally meet with a base and selfish spirit whose motto is “let future generations take care of themselves,” yet we believe that there is no more sacred or more universal principle implanted in the human bosom, than that which animates the parent, and the patriot, to transmit unimpaired to his posterity those institutions which ministered to, or fulfilled the measure of his own happiness.
If our apprehensions of the dangers from foreign influence in the United States, be founded in sound reason;—and the wise, the just and the good, of every political party, are daily becoming more and more convinced of its correctness, and our opinion is rapidly becoming universal throughout our country; then, not only our posterity, and the posterity of naturalized citizens, but even foreigners who may desire to emigrate, to our happy land, to the end of time, are interested in the accomplishment of our wishes, viz, the repeal of the naturalization laws. For if it be admitted that the participation in our political privileges of the ignorant, the corrupt, the perfidious, the vile, the seditious, and the hostile foreigner, may eventually warp, distort or overthrow our republican form of Government, then those benign features which at present characterize our institutions, being destroyed; Anarchy, confusion, and eventually despotism must inevitably ensue, hence the beneficent peculiarities of our country will become extinct, and thus, this last asylum of the oppressed and afflicted for relief and happiness, will be cut off for ever.
Thus it appears that the future happiness of succeeding generations, even of foreigners, now in distant lands, may be secured by the accomplishment of the great object which we have in view, viz: the with-holding political power from the hordes of foreigners, who are now crowding into our country, by the repeal of the naturalization laws. For although the ignorant and the bigoted might be seduced—the corrupt and seditious might he stimulated, and the ambition of the demagogue might be temporarily gratified by civil commotions, which would eventuate in the overthrow of our government, yet the subsequent discovery that they had not increased their own happiness, would not restore the blessings which we had lost, nor avert the bitter legacy of misery, which would thus be entailed on all posterity.
That the minds of many foreigners, have indulged in imaginings connected with the possible future usurpation of all political power in the United States, is not only shadowed forth in the hostility of a large proportion of them to a repeal of the naturalization laws, and their slanderous and vituperative assaults on those native Americans, who foreseeing the dangers which threaten their country, have availed themselves of a right guaranteed by the constitution to every American citizen, and have petitioned Congress on this subject, but the design has been openly avowed in the following handbill which was liberally circulated in the City of New York, at the late Charter Election. It is in these words:—
“IRISHMEN to your post, or you will lose America. By perseverance you may become its rulers. By negligence you will become its slaves. Your own country was lost by submitting to ambitious men. This beautiful country you gain by being firm and united Vote the ticket, ALEXANDER STEWART, Alderman, EDWARD FLANAGAN, for Assessor, both true IRISHMEN.”
Here, says a recent report of a special committee of its own body to Congress.—” Here you have the objects avowed—the subversion of your Government—and a revolution contemplated.”
Mark the language of this appeal, and remember that it was made to Foreigners, in the City of New York, at an election for officers of the City Government, within which they number more than one hundred thousand Foreigners.
An eloquent and powerful American writer, in treating on this subject, thus feelingly remarks.
“The political seer in casting the horoscope of our country’s destinies, is frequently compelled to cover his eyes with his hand, in order to conceal the streams of blood which roll before him.”
The object of the present undertaking is to aid in arousing our countrymen to a keen perception of the dangers which threaten them from foreign influence through the suicidal process of indiscriminate foreign naturalization.
Much has already been said on this subject, but much more remains to be said, and we are determined in conjunction with the fearless and patriotic spirits, who are now employed in the same great cause, to sound the alarm far and wide, until the American people have been aroused from their lethargy and induced to think deeply and solemnly on this momentous subject, until every city, town, village and hamlet, throughout our country shall respond to our warning cry, and shall lend their aid in the correction of this great and incalculable evil.
It is only necessary that the American people should reflect, to cause them to act promptly, powerfully and effectually in this matter, and in order to induce them to reflect, their attention must be awakened by constant and spirit stirring appeals from those who have thought, and thought intensely and profoundly on this subject.
When previous to the Revolutionary war, a trifling tax was laid upon tea, which probably would hardly have been noticed by nine-tenths of the community, a few patriotic spirits, seeing in it the germ of future slavery, threw themselves into the breach, and warned the people of their danger, be it our duty to follow at an humble distance in their patriotic footsteps, for although ineffably beneath them in talents, wisdom and ability, yet we feel we love our country, as sincerely and as devotedly.
We, therefore, like those patriots, seeing portentous evils approaching our country from foreign influence, like them though far inferior, will never cease to warn the people, till those evils are corrected or averted.
When we sometimes converse with our countrymen, who have never reflected on the momentous subject of foreign influence, they sometimes reply to our expressions of apprehension, “Oh! what can a few foreigners more or less, do to injure the United States.”
But when we tell our countrymen, that in 1807, the foreign born population in the United States, bore a proportion to the native of about “one to forty,” and that now the proportion is about one to five or six, and that from two to five hundred thousand foreigners arrive annually in the United States.
When we tell our countrymen, that there are now five millions of individuals of foreign birth in the United States, or about one third of our whole population, of whom about 70,000, are paupers and vagrants, supported at the public cost, at an expense to the American people and their government of two millions and a quarter of dollars annually, or a sum about equal to the annual cost of the whole American navy. . . .